Josiah Carlson has lived in Colorado Springs as long as he can remember. He says he plans on staying and being a part of the community for years to come. Carlson, 26, spoke from his Northwestern Mutual office in the heart of downtown about planning for the future, opportunities for young professionals in the community and taking a punch.
Where are you from originally?
I’m from Bellevue, Wash. My parents moved to Colorado Springs when I was 4 or 5, so I grew up here and went to high school at The Classical Academy. I went to college in a couple different places. I went to Pikes Peak Community College, then UCCS, then I studied abroad at the Universitat de Barcelona, came back and finished at the University of Phoenix.
How long have you been with Northwestern Mutual and what do you do?
I’ve been with Northwestern Mutual since January 2013. I’m a financial representative. I help clients with their financial situations. I work with individuals and small businesses. We can do personal financial planning for individuals, family planning or small business planning on the investments side.
Which aspect is your favorite?
I love talking to families. Especially military families. They have such an opportunity through the different benefits they have with the military to take care of themselves and set themselves up for when they get out of the military or retire from the military. They have such an opportunity and if we do specific planning for them, they can get into the civilian world with both feet on the ground.
Does your family have a military background?
My grandpa was in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He’s the only family member. But I did JROTC [Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps] at the Air Academy High School.
Why did you pursue finance instead of the military?
During JROTC I realized the Air Force wasn’t for me. I did it for three and a half years and I stopped enjoying it. As a senior, I was done. But I loved how they taught character, responsibility, professionalism. Even the small things like learning how to tie a tie. Just small things like that. They all add up. I think I had more of an advantage acting as a professional because of that.
What licenses do you hold right now?
Series 7, Series 66 and Life and Health Insurance.
Your website mentions “holistic planning.” What does that mean?
That means we’re not just looking at how to invest money, or just making sure you’re insured. Everybody’s plan is different. Some people have more debt than others. Some don’t have debt and just need to know the landscape of investing and planning for the future. Holistic means looking at both sides. Both defensive planning and offensive.
Are most people realistic in their financial planning?
I think [our consultations are] a wake-up call for a lot of people. I think we see most people treat personal financial planning like a hobby and not like a business.
We’ll create specific recommendations based on what our clients say is important to them. We try to do it as if we were in their shoes.
Our Focus section this week has a story about young professionals entering the workforce and how they save for retirement. What is your opinion on your generation’s planning for the future?
My generation is so about having things instantly. We have iPhones that pull up information and Wikipedia. How many times have you misspelled a word and you Google it? In the past, you had to be more disciplined. We want things now. So the idea of deferred gratification is a bit of a foreign concept to us. Planning becomes extremely important.
Our generation is at a low point for saving. Also, my generation doesn’t have pensions and a lot of people are concerned about Social Security. So the adage of saving 10 percent for your financial future is maybe not appropriate.
In 10 years, where do you see yourself?
I see myself [in Colorado Springs]. I’ll be quite into my practice and probably still in the same office. I don’t see myself moving. I’d like to be part of the community and serving in different ways.
How is the young professional climate here?
I grew up here. I have great friends who grew up here as well. They are very talented, bright individuals who have gone on to get their masters and MBAs. Out of my close friends, two are still here. We have to have the ability to retain our young professionals. People graduating from UCCS and Colorado College — there need to be opportunities to plug in and stay in the community.
What do you do when you’re not in your eighth-floor office?
I love to play soccer. I play on a couple league teams here and I play indoor [soccer] and I am training to box. I’m not a professional or anything, but I enjoy that. nCSBJ